New York Knicks (15-21, 6-11 road) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder ( 20-16, 10-8 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 106.0 (21st), Knicks – 106.6 (17th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 103.8 (7th), Knicks – 107.6 (19th)
Pace: Thunder – 92.3 (18th), Knicks– 93.9 (9th)
View from the enemy: Knickerblogger
NOTE: Recap will be up a little late tonight. But it’s coming.
The Knicks don’t stink. They may be 15-21 but bear in mind, they started 4-15, meaning they are 11-6 in their last 17 games. This is a dangerous game because when they get rolling, they can obviously score the ball. But typically, good defense beats good offense, especially when the opposing defense isn’t very good. So that should make you feel better. But the Knicks have beat good teams. They have wins against Atlanta (twice), Phoenix, New Orleans and Portland. So yeah, I’m a little nervous about it.
The Knicks coming in: New York recently lost to Houston Saturday night after holding a big lead at halftime. The Knicks have won three of four though and like I said, 11 of their last 17. They’re 4-4 in their last eight road games.
Wilson Chandler has already said he hopes to contain Kevin Durant. I don’t know what his definition of “contain” is, but if that means holding him to his average, I think you can bank on that. Chandler isn’t a bad defender by any means, but he’s not a lockdown guy either.
David Lee could be an issue inside because he’s a double-double beast, and he’s going to constantly hit the offensive glass. So Nenad Krstic, Serge Ibaka and Nick Collison will have to make it their plan to limit that. Jared Jeffries is the Knicks starting four, so Jeff Green should have an advantage there on both the boards and inside. (Al Harrington missed Saturday’s game with a calf injury and is questionable.)
The Knicks run really a three forward offense, as Danilo Gallinari is technically a small forward. But that’s why Thabo is so valuable. He can guard Gallinari, he can guard Chandler or he could even guard Jeffries. Russell Westbrook should have a leg up on Chris Duhon at the point, but you do have to watch for Duhon catching and shooting if Westbrook collapses to help on penetration from Gallinari and Chandler.
OKC should have a leg up on the bench, unless Nate Robinson decides to go absolutely insane again. But any time you rely mostly on Jonathan Bender and MARCUS Landry to get it done inside off the bench, you should expect to have problems.
This is a chance to go five (!!!) games over and keep the momentum moving forward. But it is a dangerous game because the Knicks are playing well and can beat anybody, anytime. Regardless of that, I’d definitely be disappointed with a Thunder loss tonight.
Tip at 7:00 CST. Go Defense > Offense.